House of Lords written question – answered on 2nd July 2012.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support the appeal by the European Union-Turkey Civic Commission against the detention of Members of Parliament, mayors, and members of the Peace and Democracy Party; and what assessment they have made of the length of sentences imposed in recent cases concerning the dissemination of propaganda, and education reform, in Turkey.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

The Government share the concern expressed by our European partners over the detention of a number of Peace and Democracy (BDP) politicians, mayors and others. We are aware of the recent appeal by the European Union-Turkey Civic Commission on 13 June.

The Turkish Government have introduced various judicial reforms, including measures to tackle detention periods, which we welcome. However, we endorse comments by the Head of the European Union Delegation in Turkey, Jean Maurice Ripert, that reforms do not deal effectively with some of the issues, including independence of the judiciary and crimes under the anti-terror act. We urge the Turkish Government to pursue a comprehensive reform strategy that fulfils their international commitments on human rights and freedom of expression.

We are encouraged that Prime Minister Erdogan and the main opposition CHP party (Republican People's Party) recently met to discuss a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue and by the recent announcement on 12 June that Kurdish language teaching would be allowed in Turkish middle schools. We encourage further progress on this.

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